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- Scientists still don’t have a complete picture of how certain drugs affect vaccine effectiveness
- But studies suggest growing evidence that the vaccine may not be as effective when combined with other drugs.
- Immunocompromised patients taking drugs such as oral steroids may also compromise the effectiveness of the vaccine.
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“It’s a little frustrating, I’m a little disappointed that this has happened,” said Rosita Bailey, who said she and her entire family tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Bailey, 51, who resides in Clermont, Florida, said she took many precautions but always knew there was a possibility that she could still be infected after being vaccinated in the spring.
“They say your immune system is weakening because you take all these different drugs, and on top of all that I have rheumatoid arthritis,” Bailey explained. “I feel a lot better than three days ago, I still have to take it slow. “
Bailey’s doctor, Dr Aftab Khan, said she was taking methotrexate, a drug known to suppress the immune response and inflammation.
He said other immunocompromised patients taking similar drugs like oral steroids could also compromise the vaccine’s effectiveness.
“Whether you are vaccinated or not, immunocompromised people are a very dangerous situation for them,” said Dr. Khan, who practices internal medicine at Davenport Medical Center in Florida.
Dr Khan said prescribing these kinds of drugs is sometimes absolutely necessary – but it’s important for patients to understand the risks.
“If someone is suffering from an exacerbation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, steroids are one thing that works,” he explained.
“But, if you are going to prescribe steroids for someone, you have to tell them and you have to warn them that they may weaken your immune system and you have to take extra precautions. ”
Scientists still don’t have a complete picture of how these drugs affect vaccine effectiveness, but the evidence is mounting.
New research from Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that booster doses should be investigated for people who are immunocompromised.
A national study from Michigan Medicine found that nearly 3% of American adults under the age of 65 take drugs that weaken their immune systems.
“The hospital nurse told me, ‘I’m glad you got the vaccine because your symptoms could have been worse,’ Bailey explained.
As for Bailey, she said she would always encourage others to get vaccinated, even after testing positive.
“After this experience I will tell anyone, if you have a weakened immune system, even if you don’t, take the vaccine, I think it’s beneficial. Here I am, I had COVID, but I was not hospitalized. “